While the mortgage market continues to roil from the effects of a meltdown in subprime credit, IBM (NYSE: IBM) said today it intends to enter the loan fulfillment business and that it has formed a new business unit which will specialize in providing software and services for mortgage lenders. IBM Lender Business Process Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the IT services giant, will offer a full range of lending services, including loan application, underwriting, processing, vendor management, document preparation and loan closing, the company said in a press statement. IBM said its new LBPS subsidiary will seek to provide top-tier lenders an opportunity to utilize leading-edge technology and processes much more economically, while offering mid-market lenders an opportunity to tap into enterprise-class origination technology that otherwise would be too costly to develop and maintain. IBM said it will introduce a variable-cost mortgage origination platform to compete with the fixed-cost approach currently employed by most vendors competing in the space. "There is a fundamental shift in how the mortgage industry uses technology and automation to achieve the kinds of efficiencies required to thrive in the new lending economy," says Af Assur, general manager, IBM mortgage origination. "Lenders need a partner like IBM who can invest to automate the total loan fulfillment supply chain on their behalf, to give them the competitive advantage they need. By integrating fulfillment and imaging technologies, proven processes and highly experienced lending professionals, we will deliver the automation and digitization necessary to help achieve the loan fulfillment efficiencies and service required for success." IBM officials said they beleive the cyclical mortgage market is placing mortgage lenders under pressure to manage an inherently high-cost, labor-intensive process. "Lenders are challenged to achieve scale in a fixed cost structure environment that adversely impacts lender profits as the housing and interest rate markets fluctuate," the company said in a press statement. The company said has been steadily building on its existing capabilities through strategic acquisitions and blending of software and services to help its banking and lending customers worldwide tackle their pain points. For more information, visit http://www.ibm.com.